Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS increases automatic extension period of certain EAD categories

This Temporary Final Rule (TFR) is effective from today, May 4, 2022, and only applies to those EAD categories currently eligible for an automatic 180-day extension. This rule will temporarily provide 360 days of additional automatic extension time for a total of up to 540 days. Eligible applicants must file a timely Form I-765 renewal application during the 18-month period after publication of this TFR.

 

This 360-day increase will be available to applicants whose employment authorization may have lapsed following the initial 180-day extension period, and any eligible applicant who files a renewal Form I-765 during the 18-month period beginning on or after May 4, 2022, and ending October 26, 2023.

 

It is important to note that certain EAD holders including those in H4, E, and L2 status, for instance, are still limited to an automatic extension only until their existing I-94 expires.

 

This automatic extension will end upon a final decision on the EAD renewal application, or up to 540 days after the expiration date on the applicant’s expired EAD card, whichever comes earlier. It is recommended that even with this rule, EAD applications should be filed as far in advance as possible.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any case specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Expands Premium Processing Services

In an effort to increase efficiency and reduce burdens to the overall legal immigration system, USCIS has announced three new actions intended to reduce backlogs, expand Premium Processing Services and provide timely access to Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).

 

Reducing Backlogs: To reduce backlogs, USCIS has established new internal cycle time goals. These goals are internal metrics and affect how long it takes the agency to process cases. As cycle times improve, processing times will follow, and applicants and petitioners will receive decisions on their cases more quickly. USCIS plans to achieve these new goals by the end of FY 2023. The new cycle time goals can be accessed here- https://www.uscis.gov/forms/filing-guidance.

 

Expansion of Premium Processing Service: USCIS intends to begin gradually implementing premium processing availability to include Form I-539, Form I-765 and additional classifications under Form I-140 in fiscal year 2022. First, USCIS plans to begin this phased implementation process by expanding premium processing eligibility to Form I-140 filers requesting EB-1 immigrant classification as a multinational executive or manager, EB-2 classification as a member of the professions with advanced degrees, and those with exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver. A specific timeline has not yet been announced. We will provide updates on timing as they become available.

 

Access to EADs: USCIS had recently extended validity periods of certain EADs by providing an automatic 180-day extension. Now it aims to build on this progress to ensure certain individuals will not lose their work authorization status while their applications are pending. More updates on the EAD adjudication process will be released by USCIS in the coming days. We will monitor progress and provide updates.

 

Please contact your Graham Adair attorney with any case specific questions, or contact us at info@grahamadair.com; +1 408 715 7067.

Categories News & Updates

Final Rule Reverts H-1B “Specialty Occupation” to Previous USCIS Standard

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) titled “Strengthening the H-1B Non-Immigrant Visa Classification Program”. The IFR previously revised and narrowed the regulatory definition of and raised the standards for “specialty occupation” for H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants.

On December 1, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued a judgment that blocked the implementation and enforcement of the IFR. In compliance with the vacatur, USCIS has vacated the IFR and restored the previous definition of and standard for the “specialty occupation” requirement.

Under the IFR, H-1B applicants were required to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the exact field related to their position. For example, under the rule, employers seeking software engineers would not be allowed to hire applicants with an information technology degree. Nor would they be allowed to use experience or a combination of experience and education as a bachelor’s degree equivalency. Now that the IFR has been vacated, applicants can satisfy “specialty occupation” by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to their profession, or a work experience equivalency.

If you have any questions, please contact your Graham Adair attorney.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS To Suspend Biometrics Requirements for Certain I-539 Applicants

From May 17, 2021, USCIS will suspend the biometrics requirements for the H-4, L-2, E-1, E-2 and E-3 categories of Form I-539 applications. The suspension will be for at least 2 years. USCIS will retain the discretion to require biometrics on a case-by-case basis.

The suspension will apply if: 1) the application is pending as of May 17, 2021 and a biometrics appointment notice has not been received; or 2) the application is received by USCIS between May 17, 2021 and the expiration date of the suspension.

USCIS has expressed an intention to eliminate the current backlog and to significantly reduce delays in processing times for these applications. The proposal came in a declaration from USCIS Service Center Operation Directorate Associate Director Connie L. Nolan in the pending federal case Edakunni v. Mayorkas.

If you have any questions, please contact your Graham Adair attorney.

Categories News & Updates USCIS

USCIS Announces Final Filing Fee Adjustments

Effective October 2020, USCIS will implement fee adjustments for certain immigration and naturalization benefit applications. One of the most notable adjustments is that Form I-129 is no longer a uniform rate. Rather, the fee will depend on the type of non-immigrant status. For example, the I-129 fee for an H-1B is changing to $555, while the I-129 fee for an L-1 is now $805.

 

Along with the proposed fee adjustments, USCIS will also be extending the time to adjudicate premium processing petitions from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.

 

Additionally, Adjustment of Status (I-485) applicants seeking an Employment Authorization Document and an Advanced Parole document will be required to pay a separate fee for each application and each renewal. A separate part of the I-485 fee adjustment removes the fee discount for minor children under 14 years; their cases will now require the full I-485 filing fee.

 

The fee changes for certain immigration and naturalization applications are below:

 

Immigration Benefit Request Current Fee Final Fee Change ($)
I-129 (H-1B) $460 $555 +$95
I-129 (L-1) $460 $805 +$345
I-129 (O) $460 $705 +$245
I-140 $700 $555 -$145
I-539 $370 $400 +$30
I-765 (EAD) $410 $550 +$140
I-131 (Advance Parole) $575 $590 +$15
I-485 (Adjustment of Status) $1,140 $1,130 -$10
N-400 (Naturalization) $640 $1,170 +$850

 

Please contact your Graham Adair representative with any questions.